Evaluation process for borderline personality disorder for diagnosis

If you think you (or a loved one) may have borderline personality disorder (BPD), it is important to get an accurate diagnosis, which requires a BPD assessment. Did you know that BPD symptoms often overlap with symptoms of other mental health disorders, such as anxiety and major depression? Following the steps below will put you on the track of accurate diagnosis and correct treatment.

Find a mental health professional

Finding the right mental health professional is crucial to getting the treatment you need. First of all, it is important to choose a therapist who can practice independently. The following are some professionals who can perform BPD assessment, provide diagnosis, and treat BPD:

  • Clinical Psychologist (PhD/PsyD)
  • Licensed clinical professional consultant (LCPC)
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LSCW)
  • Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW)
  • Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC)
  • Licensed Professional Consultant (LPC)
  • Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)
  • Psychiatrist (MD)

It is also important to choose a therapist who has practical experience in diagnosing and treating BPD patients. Therefore, before you call the therapist for the first time, please check their education, training and experience online. When deciding to choose a therapist to treat your BPD, it is best to look for a therapist with the following qualities:

Getting this information before you call means you don’t have to ask about it when scheduling an appointment.

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If you have health insurance, consider asking your insurance company to provide the name of a nearby mental health professional with the expertise you are seeking, and they will also accept your insurance. If you do not have health insurance, you may be eligible for public assistance programs or services through the mental health or social services department in your state or region.

Schedule an evaluation

Once you have a list of BPD therapists who meet your baseline requirements, start at the top and call to schedule an initial consultation. Many mental health professionals provide brief, free consultations over the phone, although these calls usually need to be arranged in advance.

Let the therapist know that you are interested in assessment and treatment. Describe some of your symptoms. You can even mention that you think you may have BPD. Take this opportunity to ask some preliminary questions. Try to understand how you feel talking to this person. You can also confirm what they charge for the BPD assessment and whether they accept your insurance.

After talking with several therapists, choose the therapist that best suits your needs and arrange an evaluation.

Start the evaluation process

When you arrive for the first treatment, it is normal to feel nervous and uncomfortable, especially when you are just starting treatment. It is not easy to meet new people and start sharing private details about your life. But remember, the more direct and honest you are in the BPD assessment process, the more you can get rid of it.

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Your BPD assessment may require one or several sections. Your therapist will tell you how long the assessment will take and what types of tests or interviews (if any) they will use.

Different providers use different tools for evaluation. Generally, you can expect the therapist to ask questions about your current and past symptoms, family and work experience, and current living conditions. Some therapists will also give you a short questionnaire to fill out and/or take a psychological test, which is usually longer and will ask more questions. You can also ask any questions.

Borderline Personality Disorder Discussion Guide

Get our printable guide to help you ask the right questions the next time you see a doctor.

Get a diagnosis

You may be diagnosed after the BPD assessment. If your therapist needs more information before making a diagnosis, they may refer you to a specialist or your primary care doctor for further evaluation. Your therapist may need a second opinion for many reasons, such as:

  • Your symptoms may indicate the possibility of a non-BPD diagnosis, and they may want to be evaluated by another specialist.
  • If you have one or more serious head injuries, you may be referred to an expert for evaluation to determine whether some or all of your symptoms are caused by a physical injury rather than a mental health disorder.
  • You may be referred to your primary care physician to evaluate any other medical conditions that may cause you to develop symptoms.

However, you are more likely to be diagnosed at the end of the BPD assessment. Your therapist will also explain more about the problems caused by your symptoms and recommend treatment options.

Depending on their qualifications, your therapist may provide you with some or all of the treatment. If necessary, they may refer part of your treatment to another mental health professional with special expertise or the ability to prescribe medication (if they cannot).

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Diagnosing BPD accurately is often challenging. Many symptoms overlap with other mood disorders, and everyone’s BPD looks different.

An experienced mental health professional can help determine whether your symptoms indicate BPD or other mood disorders. Most importantly, they can recommend treatments that can help you control your symptoms and improve your quality of life.

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